Something for the weekend: The Foggy Dew, written by Canon Charles O’Neill, a parish priest, in 1919 and set to the tune of a popular love song. We are just a bit over two months before the centennial commemoration of the Easter Rising in Ireland on April 24, 1916. A militarily hopeless venture, it was easily crushed by the British. Yet, astonishingly, this doomed quixotic episode began the events that within five years would bring to an end in most of Ireland of almost a thousand years of English rule. History is usually so much more dramatic, and unlikely, than fiction.
Now that Ireland has voted to approve gay marriage, a few thoughts:
1. Catholic Ireland is now Anti-Catholic Ireland-The Irish have always found scapegoats useful as an explanation for Irish failings. Britain long played this role and the Church is now filling this role. This vote, for many of the voters, was a joyous opportunity to give a one finger salute to the faith of their ancestors.
2. Spineless Shepherds-With one or two exceptions, the Irish episcopate was worse than useless. Cowardice was their most notable attribute. Expecting these timeservers to stand up for Catholicism in a hostile environment is like expecting a wolf to become a vegetarian.
3. Pope-MIA-The Pope has endless time to waste on made up problems like global warming, and to make snide remarks about faithful Catholics, but he uttered not a word on this vote. In the current feeble state of the Church in the face of her enemies, the fish does rot from the head down.
4. No Representation-All the major parties in Ireland backed gay marriage, so the 38% of the Irish people who voted against it, a huge block of voters in a proportional parliamentary system like Ireland, effectively have no political voice.
5. Iron Triangle-In Ireland government, academia and entertainment were all overwhelmingly in favor of gay marriage. The group think on this issue makes the old Iron Curtain countries seem diverse in comparison. Continue reading
Catholic bashing has become the national sport of Ireland. Blaming the Brits for every ill that has ever afflicted Ireland has become passé, and in the former land of saints and scholars the Church is the whipping boy du jour. This of course suits the politicians who lead Ireland, eager to transform it into a carbon copy of every other European state with divorce, contraception and abortion ever available and with atheism as the de facto state religion. Irish leftism, always of the most infantile variety, has eagerly joined in, along with academia and entertainment. The attitude of the Church in Ireland has been, by and large, “Please sir, may I have another!” with most priests and prelates seeming to desire to become a Catholic Lite Church that will not utter a word troubling to their new lords and mistresses, the chattering classes in government and out.
Realizing this, I turned a jaundiced eye to endless stories about nuns supposedly casting the bodies of some 800 children into a septic tank at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, County Galway, between 1925-1961.
Go here to Salon to see a prime example of the Catholic bashing way the story was played.
Besides the anti-Catholic hysteria, the thing that struck me about the stories was the sheer ignorance displayed: ignorance of the death rate of children in Ireland in pre-antibiotic days, ignorance that homes for unwed mothers run by religious orders were often used for caring for kids with mortal illnesses, ignorance as to the difficulties involved in using a septic tank to hold even a small number of bodies, let alone 800.
Well, the truth is starting to come out. Ironically it is from the local historian Catherine Corless, who was cited in all the stories for bringing this to light, but apparently wasn’t listened to very carefully by a media eager to hear what they wished to hear:
What has upset, confused and dismayed her in recent days is the speculative nature of much of the reporting around the story, particularly about what happened to the children after they died. “I never used that word ‘dumped’,” she says again, with distress. “I just wanted those children to be remembered and for their names to go up on a plaque. That was why I did this project, and now it has taken [on] a life of its own.”
In 2012 Corless published an article entitled “The Home” in the annual Journal of the Old Tuam Society. By then she had discovered that the 796 children had died while at St Mary’s, although she did not yet have all of their death certificates.
She also discovered that there were no burial records for the children and that they had not been interred in any of the local public cemeteries. In her article she concludes that many of the children were buried in an unofficial graveyard at the rear of the former home. This small grassy space has been attended for decades by local people, who have planted roses and other flowers there, and put up a grotto in one corner. Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Michael Collins. A song in tribute to Michael Collins, the father of Irish independence, whose life and death symbolized the glory and tragedy of Ireland.
Collins was the most talented Irish statesman and soldier of the last century. He was also a man of exceptional courage as he demonstrated when he signed the Anglo-Irish treaty, realizing that this was the best deal that could be gotten from the British. “I have signed my own death warrant” was his prophetic utterance when he signed the treaty. Collins was killed in the subsequent utterly futile Irish civil war that erupted, dying at 31 on August 22, 1922, proving once again that the worst enemy of the Irish often tend to be the Irish. Continue reading
“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing — they believe in anything.”
G. K. Chesterton
Ah poor Ireland. As the Faith has become weaker in the Emerald Isle, strange new gods are arising, and one of the strangest is Che Guevara, deceased Argentinian revolutionary and hero of politically correct fools everywhere. In Galway of all places the local government passed a measure approving of a memorial to Castro’s Himmler.
The minutes of Galway City Council’s meeting of Monday, 16 May 2011, include the following proposal: ‘That Galway City Council commit itself to honoring one of its own, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, descendant of two of our Tribes, the Lynch family of Lydican House, and the Blakes. The project to be furthered by liaising with the Argentinean and Cuban Embassies.’
Billy Cameron, an Irish Labor Party councillor in Galway, has scoffed at the claims made by fellow city councillors that they didn’t know they had voted to approve a monument in honor of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.
That last comment is rich. What business is it of Ireland to honor a man who helped install a brutal tyranny in Cuba? Of course this is being done because nature abhors a vacuum, and without a belief in Christ, people will search for substitute religions and for many in the West Leftism of various stripes is the favored choice. It is gratifying that this attempt to honor “Saint” Che is drawing such fire. Castro’s hangman deserves it: Continue reading
Something for the weekend. Rule Britannia. I grew up with a bit of a love-hate relationship with Great Britain and her now vanished Empire. On my father’s side the family had been in America since before the Revolution, except for the Cherokees who had been here I assume for 30,000 years, and the family could have cared less about Great Britain one way or the other. On my mother’s side however things were different and more complex. My mother, an immigrant who became a naturalized citizen, was proud Newfoundlander Irish. Her Great-Grandfather, who regarded pews and kneelers as perfidious Protestant innovations and would kneel on bare stone floors into his eighties in the back of the church he attended during Mass, had come to Newfoundland from Ireland and kept alive in my Mom a memory of Ireland. She played in our home as I was growing up all the old Irish rebel songs, and part of the heritage I imbibed did not stint on remembering the grievances of the Irish against the English. On the other hand, my Mom loved Queen Elizabeth II and from my Mom I developed a life long interest in British history and politics. My Great-Uncle Bill on my mother’s side served in the infantry in the Royal Army from 1939-1945 joining up, he said, “Because someone has to teach the Limies how to fight!’
Therefore on this blog I happily play both the Irish rebel songs and an occasional salute to the land of the Queen my sainted mother loved. In regard to the vanished Empire, I am fully cognizant of the wrongs that were committed by it, but I believe perhaps this section from The Life of Brian might be applied to the British, as well as the Roman, Empire, in some ways. Continue reading
Number 3 of my series on great Jesuits of American history.
A year before the colonies won their fight for independence, John McElroy first saw the light of day in Brookeborough, County Fermanagh, Ireland on May 11,1782. At this time English imposed penal laws meant that Irish Catholics were treated like helots in their own land. The great Edmund Burke described the penal laws well:
“For I must do it justice; it was a complete system, full of coherence and consistency, well digested and well composed in all its parts. It was a machine of wise and deliberate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”
As a result of these laws McElroy could receive little education in Ireland. Ambition and a thirst for knowledge caused him, like many Irish Catholics before and since, to emigrate to the US, landing on our shores in 1803. He became a bookkeeper at Georgetown College, studying Latin in his off hours. In 1806 he joined the Jesuits as a lay brother, but his intelligence and his industry quickly marked him down to his Jesuit superiors as a candidate for the priesthood. Ordained in 1817 , for several years he served at Trinity Church in Georgetown, until being transferred to Frederick, Maryland, where, during the next twenty-three years, with the boundless energy which was his hallmark, he built Saint John’s Church, a college, an orphan’s asylum, and the first free schools in Frederick. He was then transferred back to Trinity in Georgetown where he remained for a year until the Mexican War began.